Russia to compete for organic food market share

Russian agriculture can enter the global organic food market. An abundance of agricultural land not spoiled by chemicals gives the country a chance to grab from 10% to 25% of the market, considers Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. However, an organic farming bill is required to bring order to the industry.

Russia could take its share of the global organic market, including meat, from 10% to 25%, reports GlobalMeatNews citing Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. According to the official, the country possesses enough vacant agricultural land that would be suitable for the cultivation of organic crops. This land has not been spoiled by various chemicals due to being out of use for a long time.

Thus, Russia claims a promising niche, as the organic food market is blooming all over the world. Many people are now choosing organic fruits and vegetables as well as meat from animals grown on organic feed. Meanwhile, in Russia, the market is rather small because of the population's lower purchasing power compared to Western markets, considers Chairman of the Russian Union of Organic Farming Sergey Korshunov.

Before entering the global market, Russia needs to adopt the organic farming bill. Currently, Russian legislation in the sphere of organic food is rather weak: there are no organic standards and no penalties for using misleading labels. As a result, ''it is impossible to estimate the share of organic products or the consumption levels of organic meat in Russia, based on official statistical data and analytical research. No such data exists, and the claims that the products are organic have not been confirmed by certification in accordance with Russian legislation. In most cases, an organic label on a product is just a marketing play,'' commented Chairman of the Russian National Meat Association Sergey Yushin.

Although many products in the local retail are marked organic, they are actually not. Photo: Ellsworth Air Force Base

At the same time, organic production is usually much more expensive than non-organic food. For example, the price for organic beef is 30-60% higher than for ''usual'' meat. The Union of Organic Farming estimates that export of organic meat could bring the national organic farming the profitability of up to 100%. In the conventional meat industry, this indicator was 10 times lower in 2017.

According to governmental Russian Gazette, up to a third of the country's agricultural producers could choose to certify their products as organic in the next few years. The newspaper states that many European countries including France, Germany and Italy have already shown demand for Russian organic products.

By Anna Litvina